Riverview church seeks $1M for repairs

Church bells will ring out at 11 a.m. across greater Moncton on Tuesday morning as churches in the region show their support for a fundraiser for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Riverview.

Repairs to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church will happen in the next year

A church congregation is hoping to raise $1 million to pay for major renovations to the 20-year-old Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Riverview.

Church bells will ring out at 11 a.m. across greater Moncton on Tuesday as churches in the region show their support for a fundraiser for the Riverview church.

The Roman Catholic church, which was built in 1992, is hoping to collect $1 million to cover the renovations

Al Kavanaugh, co-chair of the fundraising campaign, said the church has a leaky roof and several other problems.

The congregation of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Riverview is looking to raise $1 million to fix the 20-year-old building. (Archdiocese of Moncton)

But, he said, the people who designed and built the church have gone out of business so they cannot be sued.

And the church has not had a lot of luck with subsequent contractors, he said.

"We would have a subcontractor come in and do one thing, there would be a problem arise and they would say, ‘Well that's the fault of another contractor, they didn't do it the way it was supposed to be done,’" he said.

Kavanaugh said it took several years of debate and discussion before the decision to renovate the church was made.

He said he hopes to have the church fixed up within a year.

The fundraiser's co-chair said the controversy over the building's future turned out to be beneficial for the church’s congregation.

"The good thing about all of this that we've gone through, usually when you're faced with decisions like this sometimes people get fed up and maybe go to another church," he said.

"During this controversy of which way to go, one of the positive things is nobody left because of the decision that we made."

Kavanaugh said with 1,200 members, this is the biggest church in the Riverview area.

Unlike many other congregations, he said, the church's weekly attendance is not shrinking. He said two Sundays ago the 700-seat church was overflowing with parishioners.

The Riverview church isn’t the only one in the greater Moncton region that is facing tough decisions.

The historic Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption Cathedral has said it needs $7 million for repairs to save the downtown Moncton church.

It is also estimated another $3 million would be needed to be put into a trust fund for future repairs.

When the cathedral was opened it served roughly 1,500 families, now only 300 use it as their church regularly.